Metabolic disturbances in particular type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), are common and increasing in incidence with contemporary lifestyles. T2D is associated with adverse health consequences, including impaired brain Yet, the causes and effects of insulin resistance in the brain are complex, as there are reciprocal interactions with other hormone signaling systems, in particular the adipokines (e.g., adiponectin and leptin) which strongly affect insulin sensitivity. Characterizing the molecular mechanisms that increase risk of AD for persons with insulin resistance is now of great scientific interest (PAS-11-029) and their elucidation may lead to novel therapeutic strategies. Insulin resistance, a core feature of T2D, may lead to increased brain pathology. T2D is modestly associated with cerebrovascular disease, but perhaps of even greater interest, recent data show brain insulin signaling abnormalities associated with AD pathology, specifically amyloid-? and tau-related pathology as well. Furthermore, adipokine receptor expression abnormalities have also been found in AD. The overall goal of the proposed interdisciplinary collaborative project is to establish molecular mechanisms linking insulin, adopinectin, and leptin signaling in human brain, and determine how dysregulation in this network is associated with brain structure, pathology, and function, including AD and cognitive impairment. The proposed study will quantify markers of insulin, adiponectin, and leptin signaling, neurons and synapses, and use existing pathologic and clinical data from 200 community-dwelling women and men, with and without T2D and across a spectrum of cognitive function, who were well-characterized clinically and died and came to autopsy as participants in the Religious Orders Study (P30AG010161;R01AG015819). First, we will describe expression levels of brain insulin, adiponectin, and leptin pathway components in subjects with and without T2D (Aim 1). Then, using a novel ex-vivo stimulation paradigm in human postmortem tissue, we will experimentally test the stimulated responses and interactions of insulin and adipokine signaling in brain tissue (Aim 2). Finally, in the clinicopathologic translational component of the study, we will test the relations of insulin, adiponectin, and lepti signaling to brain structure (synaptic markers), pathology (amyloid-? and tau), and function (cognition). Because insulin resistance is a common condition for which therapies are available, this study will break new ground in research of insulin and adipokine mechanisms in human brain, and show insulin resistance and adipokine dysfunction are associated with changes in the human brain at multiple levels, thus providing important data with potential to improve public health.

Public Health Relevance

Insulin resistance is common and associated with adverse health consequences. Establishing molecular mechanisms linking insulin resistance to impaired brain function is an important research priority. This study relating insulin and adipokine signaling and the brain at multiple levels (structure, pathology, and function) will fill gaps in knowledge in the field and has potential to provide data which will improve public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
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Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Study Section (CNN)
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Corriveau, Roderick A
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Rush University Medical Center
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